Squid as food

"Calamari" redirects here. For other uses, see Calamari (disambiguation).

Squid is a popular food in many parts of the world. Calamari is a culinary name for squid, especially for dishes from the Mediterranean, notably fried squid (fried calamari).[1] There are many ways of preparing and cooking squid, with every country and region having its own recipes. Fried squid appears in Mediterranean cuisine, in Lebanon, Syria and Turkey it is served with a tarator sauce, in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, it is sold in fish and chip shops, and in North America, it is a staple in seafood restaurants. In Britain it can be found in Mediterranean 'calamari' or Asian 'salt and pepper fried squid' forms in all kinds of establishments, often served as a bar snack, street food or starter.

Squid can be prepared for consumption in other ways. In Korea it is sometimes served raw, and elsewhere it is used as sushi, sashimi and tempura items, grilled, stuffed, covered in batter, stewed in gravy and served in stir-fries, rice, and noodle dishes.

Fried squid

Fried calamares from Spain
Karaage of squid legs from Japan
Battered and fried baby squid, known as puntillitas - a popular tapas dish in Andalusia, Spain
Cantabrian rabas de magano, deep fried squid body strips and tentacles
Turkish kalamar tava and tarator sosu - fried squid rings with tarator (a special sauce for seafood)
Hong Kong-style fried squid

Fried squid (fried calamari, calamari) is a dish in Mediterranean cuisine. It consists of batter-coated, deep fried squid, fried for less than two minutes to prevent toughness. It is served plain, with salt and lemon on the side.

In North America, it is a staple in seafood restaurants. It is served as an appetizer, garnished with parsley, or sprinkled with parmesan cheese. It is served with dips: peppercorn mayonnaise, tzatziki, or in the United States, marinara sauce, tartar sauce, or cocktail sauce. In Mexico it is served with Tabasco sauce or habanero. Other dips, such as ketchup, aioli, and olive oil are used. In the United States, the government and industry worked together to popularize calamari consumption in the 1990s.[2]

In Lebanon, Syria and Turkey it is served with tarator, a sauce made using tahini. Like many seafood dishes, it may be served with a slice of lemon.

In South Africa, Australia and New Zealand fried calamari is popular in fish and chip shops; imitation calamari of white fish may also be used. When offered for sale as whole fresh animals, the term Calamari should only be used to describe the northern and southern calamari (Sepioteuthis spp.), however once prepared as food it is common to apply the term calamari to any squid species and even cuttlefish.

Squid preparation

The body (mantle) can be stuffed whole, cut into flat pieces or sliced into rings. The arms, tentacles and ink are edible; the only parts of the squid that are not eaten are its beak and gladius (pen).


The English name calamari has been borrowed multiple times, first from Spanish calamar, later from Italian calamaro, and most recently from Modern Greek καλαμάρι kalamári. All derive from the Late Latin calamarium, "pen case" or "ink pot", itself from the Latin calamarius, "pertaining to a writing-reed", after the resemblance in shape and the inky fluid that squid secrete; calamarius in turn derives from the Greek κάλαμος kalamos 'reed' or 'pen'.[1][9][10][11][12][13][14]


Allergies to calamari can occur.[15] As with other molluscs, the allergen is probably tropomyosin.[16]


See also


  1. 1 2 Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition, 2002, s.v.
  2. Frank, Matthew Gavin. "The origin of an appetizer: A look at the creation of calamari". Salon (website). Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  3. Mina Holland (6 March 2014). The Edible Atlas: Around the World in Thirty-Nine Cuisines. Canongate Books. pp. 180–. ISBN 978-0-85786-856-5.
  4. Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts - Google Books
  5. 1 2 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - United States. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Google Books
  6. Protein resources and technology: status and research needs - Max Milner, Nevin S. Scrimshaw, Daniel I-chyau Wang - Google Books
  7. New Scientist - Google Books
  8. Using the seas to serve people: a report on the Massachusetts Institute of ... - Bronwyn Hurd, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sea Grant Program - Google Books
  9. "calamari". The Free Dictionary.
  10. Harper, Douglas. "calamari". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  11. calamarius. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A Latin Dictionary on Perseus Project.
  12. Babibiotis, Georgios (2002). "καλαμάρι". Λεξικό της Νεάς Ελληνικής Γλώσσας [Dictionary of Modern Greek] (in Greek).
  13. Beekes, Robert (2010). "κάλαμος". Etymological Dictionary of Greek. Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series. With the assistance of Lucien van Beek. Brill.
  14. καλαμάριον, κάλαμος. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  15. "Sea Food Allergy". Allergy Society of South Africa. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
  16. Auckland Allergy Clinic, "Seafood Allergy"

External links

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